Meagher v. Long Island R.R. Co.
Court of Appeals of New York
261 N.E.2d 384 (1970)
Edward Meagher died upon disembarking from a train as it passed through a station where the train was not scheduled to stop. Meagher’s widow, Marie, (plaintiff), as executrix of her husband’s estate, sued the Long Island Rail Road Co. (LIRR) in a New York state court for negligence. In its defense, LIRR alleged Meagher’s contributory negligence and Section 83 of the Railroad Law, which protected railroads against liability for injuries to passengers riding on train vestibules without authorization. With respect to those defenses, LIRR proposed that the court instruct the jury that if Meagher disembarked while the train was in motion or if Meagher’s death was caused by his riding on the vestibule, then LIRR could not be liable. The court did not charge the jury as requested by LIRR. Instead, it instructed the jurors that contributory negligence applied only if Meagher disembarked while the train was moving faster than two or three miles per hour and that Section 83 did not apply where a person stepped onto a train car vestibule, in preparation to disembark, while the train was entering a station. After charging the jury, the judge told counsel that “exceptions or requests” to the charge would be heard in chambers. LIRR’s attorney stated that he had no exceptions or requests but indicated that he wished to discuss a matter out of the jury’s hearing. The judge submitted the case to the jury to begin deliberating then held a conference in chambers. There, counsel for LIRR asked the judge to charge the jury in accordance with the proposals that LIRR had earlier submitted. The judge stated for the record that the request had been made and that it was considered declined. Later, during deliberations, the jury sought additional guidance. The court reread parts of the charge, including its instructions on contributory negligence and Section 83. LIRR did not object. After a decision was reached in favor of Meagher, LIRR appealed on the ground that the court’s jury instructions were erroneous. The Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s decision. LIRR appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Jasen, J.)
Dissent (Gibson, J.)
What to do next…
Unlock this case brief with a free (no-commitment) trial membership of Quimbee.
You’ll be in good company: Quimbee is one of the most widely used and trusted sites for law students, serving more than 97,000 law students since 2011. Some law schools—such as Yale, Vanderbilt, Berkeley, and the University of Illinois—even subscribe directly to Quimbee for all their law students. Read our student testimonials.
Learn more about Quimbee’s unique (and proven) approach to achieving great grades at law school.
Quimbee is a company hell-bent on one thing: helping you get an “A” in every course you take in law school, so you can graduate at the top of your class and get a high-paying law job. We’re not just a study aid for law students; we’re the study aid for law students. Read more about Quimbee.
Here's why 175,000 law students have relied on our case briefs:
- Written by law professors and practitioners, not other law students. 14,000 briefs, keyed to 188 casebooks. Top-notch customer support.
- The right amount of information, includes the facts, issues, rule of law, holding and reasoning, and any concurrences and dissents.
- Access in your classes, works on your mobile and tablet. Massive library of related video lessons and high quality multiple-choice questions.
- Easy to use, uniform format for every case brief. Written in plain English, not in legalese. Our briefs summarize and simplify; they don’t just repeat the court’s language.